Cyclone Monica looks like it’s going to follow pretty much the same track as Ingrid last year: directly westward skirting the north coast straight across Cobourg Peninsula and Melville Island and then on out into the Timor Sea. Cyclone Monica looks like it’s going to follow pretty much the same track as Ingrid last year: directly westward skirting the north coast straight across Cobour Peninsula and Melville Island and then on out into the Timor Sea.
But we’re watching it closely, just in case Monica takes a slight left turn like Cyclone Tracy did. It was a category 4 cyclone with maximum winds of 250 kph or so at the centre. Monica is currently a category 5 with winds 100 kph stronger than that at 350kph. Darwin houses are required to be designed to withstand a strong category 4 cyclone, but a lot would sustain major damage if Monica retains its present strength and hits Darwin squarely.
Monica’s ultimate track should be much more evident by around 8pm this evening. It should be approximately over Cobourg Peninsula by then. If it’s still tracking dead west we’ll stay home. If it’s showing any signs of a southerly skew we’ll jump in the car and head south down the Stuart Highway (along with thousands of others, I suspect).
Update – 11am Monday – the forecast just released has Monica hitting Darwin at around 10-11am tomorrow, and still being at category 4 intensity at that point. Time to start packing and securing loose objects. Darwin Met Burau forecaster Andrew Tupper:
“It’s a very large, well-organised system, and a cyclone that size doesn’t go to nothing in a day.
Monica would prove a serious threat even if it weakened, Mr Tupper said.
“Our most optimistic forecast is it will be a category three at Darwin, we’re preparing for a category three and a category five would be the most pessimistic.
“A category three cyclone is still a very serious cyclone – we’re tracking it very carefully and hoping it will change course.
“We’re expecting gales will affect Darwin, there’s almost no way around that.
“The edge will hit about dawn tomorrow and the core will approach later in the day.
“Even if the track changes Darwin will still receive a glancing blow.”
PS – Jacques Chester provides a link to a new Cyclone Monica site containing live webcam shots, weather maps and a range of other Cyclone Monica stuff. I’m waiting for my daughter to bring my car back so I can go home and start stowing away stuff that could blow around.